Red Bull will release a major update to the RB19 this weekend. But how is that possible, within the rules regarding time in the wind tunnel?
Formula 1 is of course extremely cool. But the sport also has its drawbacks. Not infrequently one team is dominant. And if one of the drivers within that team is clearly better than the other and/or is designated as ‘the first man’, it gets a bit boring. If you are a fan of the Dutch or Austrian national anthem, you can turn on the (F1)TV on Sunday afternoon. There is a good chance that they will both pass by again.
The American overlords of the sport, who took over the estate from Bernie, didn’t really like this at all. In the great American leagues there are often measures that prevent a team from dominating for years. For example, in the NBA, a team is not allowed to spend more than a certain amount on salaries per year. This prevents the Lakers or Knicks, who operate in the biggest markets, from simply spending endless money on the best players and thus winning. There are a lot of snags to this limitation, but basically it works like this.
Rules to level the field
Such a system has now also been introduced in Formula 1. Not only with limits on expenditure, but also with a kind of graduated formula for the amount of time that teams can spend in the wind tunnel. The better the results from a year earlier, the less time people get in the wind tunnel. In theory, the teams should slowly grow closer together.
Because Red Bull finished gloriously first last year, it has the least time in the wind tunnel for this year. That was somewhat exacerbated by the penalty that Red Bull received for breaking the budget cap. It therefore outlines the surprise of many, including Lewis Hamilton, that the team equips the RB19 with a steady stream of updates. Also this weekend in Hungary, where Red Bull will be even more dominant than they already were due to the adjustment of the sidepods.
Red Bull finds the loophole
F1TV’s Sam Collins thinks he knows how Red Bull has been able to update the sidepods largely outside the wind tunnel time rules. There is a loophole in the law:
Red Bull has read the regulations closely. By modifying the sidepod intake, they also changed everything under the sidepod. So the cooling elements, the radiators and the heat exchangers. Everything that has to do with the cooling of the power unit has been adjusted. That’s where the regulations are very interesting. If you develop those parts under the bodyworkthen that will not be counted as time you are allowed to spend in the CFD or the wind tunnel.
Sam Collins, home tech of F1TV
Down Force Red Bull RB19
What Red Bull was not allowed to do is then directly measure what these adjustments did to the downforce. But what was allowed to be measured is the air conduction through the sidepod, the temperatures and the differences in air pressure through the cooling system. Smart minds can indirectly say something about the downforce from these measurements. Apart from the fact that Red Bull can still use a small piece of wind tunnel time to directly measure the downforce afterwards.
It is therefore a gray area that Red Bull has made good use of, entirely in the tradition of Formula 1. Is this the difference between the champion and the losers? Let us know in the comments!
This article Red Bull outsmarts rules for sidepod update appeared first on Autoblog.nl.
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